“How to Do Constitutional Law and Politics in South Asia” in M. Tushnet & M. Khosla, eds., Unstable Constitutionalism: Law and Politics in South Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2015) 18-44.
The study of South Asia has been neglected in the vast and growing field of comparative constitutional law. To come to grips with South Asian constitutional law and politics requires that we develop our research agendas around the actual practice of constitutional actors in South Asia, which opens the door to an alternative strategy of comparative case studies that shifts the field beyond the narrow set of jurisdictions that command central attention. In addition, the study of South Asia has suffered from a disjuncture between the study of South Asian constitutional development and constitutional law in how they examine constitutional jurisprudence; the former offers highly truncated analyses of constitutional jurisprudence, whereas the latter is highly formalistic and doctrinal. What is sorely needed is an analysis of key cases that integrates the constitutional politics occurring outside the courts with the details of those judgments. In this chapter, I illustrate what the study of South Asian constitutional law and politics could look like, through the basic structure doctrine and India’s system of reservations.